So, one of my very first posts on here was about the benefits of exercising regularly. And while those are all still true, today I want to focus on one specific type of exercise (and my personal favorite): weight lifting! But, before I dive into the awesomeness (yes, that’s a word) of lifting, I first want to
beat down discuss some popular MYTHS about weight lifting, especially for women.
First off is probably the most common myth: women don’t want to look bulky or big or hulk-like due to lifting. Well, good news here, you won’t! Women have testosterone levels that are 15-20 times lower than men, meaning our bodies are not able to get jacked up like the hulk. Another thing people tend to think is that lifting will cause them to gain weight so they need to get on the treadmill to burn fat. Actually, strength training can boost the fat burn because the more muscle you have, the more energy (calories) your body uses (burns) daily. As for gaining weight, it is possible for the scale to go up–this is because muscle is more dense than fat–however, your body composition will be more compact and more toned with muscle. Using the scale isn’t a good example of how you are doing when building muscle (Exhibit A).
So enough about myths…it’s time to get into the amazing benefits that adding strength training to your weekly workout routine can bring!
1. Increased Muscle Mass
Okay duh, Kristyn, that’s kinda the point, but bear with me, there’s more. More type II muscle fibers (the kind you build when you lift) increases whole-body metabolism, which can help burn fat and fight against obesity. More muscle mass will also help increase your strength and ability to do your everyday things and enjoy certain activities as well. When you increase your muscle through lifting weights, you are increasing your overall strength and endurance which can have strong impacts in other parts of your life!
2. Help Fight Osteoporosis
As we age, there is natural bone loss, which can be especially concerning to women whose bones tend to be smaller; therefore, bone loss can lead to osteoporosis (can occur in men too, it’s just less likely). Lifting weights improves bone density, by helping toughen up bones, therefore, helping to reduce or slow down bone loss.
3. Improved Health
Studies have shown that weight lifting can reduce the risk of cancer as well as lower your diabetes risk. On top of that, doing fast-paced resistance workouts can improve your cardio strength and protect your heart by improving your heart health. Having a healthy heart is a very important aspect of being healthy, so the fact that lifting can have that kind of impact is great news. Resistance training isn’t only good for your physical muscles and bones, but also for your whole health and well-being too!
4. Prevent Injury
Lifting not only increases the strength of your muscles, but also your tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue. All this means that you are less likely to experience fractures, tears, and other injuries in sports and everyday activities. Now, of course, injury and accidents can still happen, but strength training helps greatly reduce that risk!
5. Increased Mobility
Because you gain muscle when you lift weights, you are able to move with ease along with having increased mobility in your life. Studies have also shown that resistance training can help improve your flexibility as well. Your built muscle can now help your body do everyday movements and activities safely and more easily due to your increased mass and strength. Moving will never have been easier!
6. Improved Quality of Life
Last, but certainly not least, lifting weights can help improve many areas of your life, leading to a raised quality of life. Lifting can help gain self-confidence by boosting your self-esteem and perceived body image. Studies have also shown that lifting releases feel-good endorphins, helping to relieve anxiety and even help with depression! Finally, strength training can improve your attitude and make you happier and more positive at work, school, home, etc. All of these wonderful factors help lead to an improved quality of life just by adding in weight lifting!!
These are only a few of the many benefits that lifting weights brings. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your love for pilates or yoga or running or swimming. Instead, just adding 2-3 days a week of resistance training to your workout routine can help you build incredible strength and endurance that will help you with your other loved exercise activities. Don’t fear the weights; see lifting weights as an awesome way to transform your life and get the results you want! You and your body are worth it!